All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of the Worlds, and may the prayers and salutations be upon His Messenger, to proceed:
From the doubts being spread by the Jahmiyyah is their claim that Allaah being above the creation necessitates He completely surrounds it with His Essence, just like a sphere contains another sphere inside of it, and as such, that the creation is actually inside of His Essence.
And they argue that since a person in the northern hemisphere raises his hands to Allaah in a direction other than the person in the southern hemisphere, then, if Allaah was above the creation, it would mean He would have to be in all directions, completely surrounding the creation in the manner of one sphere containing another, and therefore that the creation is inside of Him.
And this doubt is an extension of the doubts of the Jahmites of old who denied that Allaah is above His creation, with His Essence - and they have taken words such as "Ihaatah" and "muheet" (encompassment) that are used by the Scholars and portrayed to the people that such scholars speak with and affirm the above repugnant saying, or that this repugnant saying is binding from the belief that Allaah is above His creation, above His Throne.
And this doubt is being used by the Jahmites of today in all their different flavors,and it is merely a continuation of the attempt of the Jahmiyyah to deny and reject that Allaah Himself is above the Throne, separate and distinct from His creation.
The Raising Of The Doubt
The Jahmites have raised this doubt - and as usual - have taken either a phrase (in one instance by the Philadelphian Jahmites) or isolated selected parts from a short passage from a discussion that ranges 40-50 pages (in another instance by the Jahmee Baleed Abu Adam Naruiji), and they have claimed that Ibn Taymiyyah holds the creation to be inside of Allaah, with Allaah "surrounding" it from all sides, in the manner of a sphere containing another.
And when Ibn Taymiyyah only speaks on the basis of what is found in the revealed texts and what is narrated from the early Salaf, then the accusations of these Jahmites can only be sustained if they manage to deceive the people and isolate select parts of Ibn Taymiyyah's speech from the rest, because in the rest of it is what makes clear that Ibn Taymiyyah is holding a position based upon the clear manifest verses, ahaadeeth and sayings of the Companions. And in any case, what they accuse him of, is explicitly denied by him and described as a "corrupt belief" by him, as we will see at the very end of this synopsis of Ibn Taymiyyah's "Risaalah al-Arshiyyah (the Treatise Concerning the Throne)", which is found in Majmoo ul-Fataawaa (6/545 onwards), and a synopsis of this is provided further below.
A Quick Note On the Clangor Made by the Jahmites Through the Word "Size" And What is Similar To It Before Proceeding ...
As is the habit of the Jahmites, they utilize words by which they intend to reject what Allaah affirms for Himself - and we have seen examples of this previously such as the word tarkeeb (composition), which is used to deny Allaah's Attributes and to deny that He is above the Throne. And another one used by the Jahmites in the English language is "size", and they deceive the ignorant and gullible through this word and make them imagine this means Allaah is a body, because only bodies have sizes.
And to understand why they are forced to do this, you need to read this article which uncovers their realities, and you can read the many other articles on this site regarding this proof which they made to be the foundation of their entire religion and which they made more decisive and definitive over the revealed texts - see here.
With regard to this word "size", then the reality is that there is nothing that exists except that it must be "dhu qadr" and "dhu sifah" which means it must have a true and real existence - instead of a mere imagined conceptual one - that is characterized with attributes. And the Jahmites deny this for Allaah, because they claim this necessitates a size and therefore a body (jism), and this means that they do not in reality, affirm a "dhaat" for Allaah.
But since attributes cannot exist on their own, Allaah must have a "dhaat", and this "dhaat" must have a true and real existence, beyond just a concept in the mind. And so "dhu qadr" means that this dhaat of Allaah (His Essence) has a real and true existence, i.e. actual existence, and "dhu sifah" means that this dhaat (Essence) is described with Attributes. And as these Jahmite Ash'aris affirm the attributes of hearing, seeing, speech and so on for Allaah, then is it possible for these attributes to exist without a dhaat that has a true and real existence outside of the mind and outside of the creation? So you can see the deception (talbees) of these people through these words. They need to protect their intellectual proof from, that is what everything is about.
If you ask any Jahmite Ash'ari to distinguish Allaah's existence from non-existence, you will find that he will not be able to do it using his Greco-Jahmic language and terminology, in fact, their language and terminology all points to non-existence. Even if you got a bit rough, pinned him on the ground on his side and placed your full weight over his neck through your lower leg and knee, and forced an answer out of him, the most he will be able to splutter, if he was honest and truthful about what he really believes, would be:
He is not a jism (body), He is not an 'arad (incidental attribute), He is not a jawhar (substance, particle), He is not in jihah (direction), He is not in makaan (place), He does not have a size, He does not have an extent, He is not within the universe, He is not outside of the universe, He is not attached or in contact with the universe, He is not separate and detached from the universe, He is not above, He is not below, He is not within, He is not without, He is....
And you would eventually become frustrated at not getting an answer from this Jahmee through which Allaah's existence is distinguished from non-existence, and you would have to just get up and let him be on his way, whilst you mutter in bewilderment, "Dude... where's your religion?".
Now as we have said before, because they made qualities (sifaat), incidental attributes (a'raad) and occurrences (hawaadith) found in bodies (ajsaam) to be proof of their createdness, and thus proof of a creator, and because, as Aristotle explained, that from the incidental attributes of bodies are things like size and width and depth and so on, they are forced by necessity, in turn to reject for Allaah whatever is found in the revealed texts that invalidates this intellectual proof of theirs, or just hints at its invalidation. And thus they say things like "He does not have a size" - they have to do this to defend and protect their intellectual proof, so that there are no hints at all to its corruption and falsehood. And these statements of theirs all approximate towards Atheism - that which the Salaf charged Jahm and the Jahmiyyah with.
They reject that Allaah is "Adheem" (Mighty) - and some of them make ta'weel of this name - and that Allaah is "Kabeer" (Great) and that He is "Akbar" (the Greatest) and that the revealed texts indicate that He is greater than everything. And the most amazing thing is that Allaah legislated for His servants that they say, "Glory be to my Lord, the Mighty (al-Adheem)" and that they say, "Glory be to my Lord, the Most High (al-A'laa)" in the rukoo' and sujood respectively, and this to these Jahmites is plain manifest kufr because it necessitates size and direction!
And it is for this reason that you find statements amongst the Salaf such as the saying of Wahb bin Jareer (d. 206), from the leading Scholars of Basrah, as reported by adh-Dhahabi in "Mukhtasar al-Uluww" (p. 170):
Muhammad bin Hammaad said: I heard Wahb bin Jareer saying: "Beware of the opinion of Jahm, for they are trying (to say) that there is nothing above the Heaven, and this is nothing but the inspiration of Iblees, it is nothing but kufr".
So these Jahmites - in order to protect their corrupt, false and flawed intellectual proof for demonstrating the createdness of the universe, they deceive the people through the use and negation of these words like "size" and so on.
A Summary of the Discussion of Ibn Taymiyyah in His "Risaalah Arshiyyah"
Ibn Taymiyyah is answering a question posed to him regarding the Throne and supplicating to Allaah in directions other than what one finds instinctively which is to face above and from the answer to this question we can summarize that Ibn Taymiyyah holds on the basis of the verse in the Qur'an:
They have made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him! (Az-Zumar 39:67)
And what is reported in the authentic ahaadeeth regarding this verse which are found in two Saheehs and also what is reported from the Salaf and from Ibn Abbas in particular, regarding this verse:
The seven heavens and the seven earths and whatever is within them and between them are not in the Hand of ar-Rahman except like a mustard seed in the hand of one of you
That Allaah is greater and mightier and greater than everything, and that the universe compared to Allaah is extremely small, and as such the meaning of Ihaatah (encompassment) is understood in light of this, and not upon the false, corrupt belief, as Ibn Taymiyyah calls it, that the universe is contained by Allaah in the manner of a sphere contained and surrounded by another. And thus, [in addition to the meanings of encompassment in knowledge (ilm), and in power (qudrah)], then the texts indicate encompassment from this angle also and because the texts have alluded to it, then it is spoken with in a manner that befits His Majesty and which is based upon these texts, and not upon any false and corrupt beliefs like what is presumed by the dhaalimoon (oppressors), exalted is Allaah from what they say, that Allaah contains the universe in His Self.
And that all of the texts support each other, thus, Allaah is above the heaven, above His Throne, and Allaah is mightier than everything, and the heavens and earth are extremely small to Allaah - all of these are found in the revealed texts, and thus, when we consider that all people in all parts of the earth, seek Allaah in the direction of above, no matter where they are, then we only speak on the basis of what we know from the texts, and thus Allaah's encompassment is in the manner alluded to in the saying of Ibn Abbaas. And upon this, all the doubts in this regard are removed, for that then explains that all people in all parts of the earth are indeed seeking Allaah when they seek Him above, and who is in truth above them all.
This is essentially what Ibn Taymiyyah is saying. And we can now proceed to the synopsis of the treatise which contains a treatment of this issue:
A Brief Summary of ar-Risaalah al-Arshiyyah
This is found in Majmoo ul-Fataawaa (6/545 -592) and is a response to a question:
The Initial Question
The question is regarding the Throne and
...whether it is round or not, and if it is round, and Allaah is beyond the Throne, separate from it, and encompassing it (muheetun bihi), then what is the benefit in the servant in a person turning to Allaah, the Most High, when he supplicates and worships, seeking (Him in the direction of) above as opposed to other directions. And (if that was the case) then there should be no difference, during supplication, in seeking the direction of above and (seeking the) other directions that encompass the person - but alongside this, we find in our hearts, the intent and desire (qasd) to seek (Him) above, and not to the right or left. So inform us about this necessity (dhuroorah) that we find in our hearts and to which our natural instinct (fitrah) has been made to incline...
Synopsis of the Answer
We will summarise the answer of Shaykh ul-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah, He explains that the answer to this question can be given with three foundations:
ONE: It can be said that there is no proof that the Throne is a celestial body or orbit like the round, spherical celestial orbits or bodies - there is no intellectual or legislative (Shar'ee) proof for this.
The ones who said this are those who looked into the saying of the Philosophers and the Astronomers, who said that there are nine celestial orbits, and that the ninth is called "Atlas", which encompasses them and surrounds them spherically. Then when these people heard through the reports of the Prophets, the mentioning of the "Throne of Allaah" and His "Kursiyy", and the mentioning of the "Seven Heavens", they said, by way of presumption, that the Throne is the ninth celestial orbit due to their belief that there is nothing beyond the ninth orbit absolutely, or that nothing created is beyond it.
So Ibn Taymiyyah goes on to establish that this saying has no intellectual or Sharee'ah proof.
He then explains that the Throne is distinct and separate from the rest of the created things, and that the relationship of the Throne to the creation, is not like the relationship of the created to the created (i.e. like the relationship of one celestial orbit to another). And He brings the textual evidences from the Qur'aan and the Sunnah showing that:
- The Throne has carriers, which are Angels, and other Angels which are around the Throne
- That on the Day of Judgement the Throne will have eight carriers
- The the carriers of the Throne glorify Allaah and seek forgiveness for the believers
- That the Throne was over the water before He created the heavens and the earth
- That Allaah praises Himself through the words "Dhul-Arsh" (Owner of the Throne) in the Qur'an
- That the Throne is described as "Adheem (Mighty)", "Majeed (Glorious)" and "Kareem"
- That the Throne is spoken of as having great weight, as occurs in the supplication, "Glorified by Allaah (as many times) as number of His creation, and glorified be Allaah to the (extent of the) weight of His Throne..."
- That the Throne has pillars (qawaa'im)
- That the Throne is above Firdaus, which is the highest and mid-most part of Paradise
- That in the hadeeth of Jubayr bin Mu'tim there is the indication by the Prophet (alayhis salaam) that the Throne is dome-shaped (muqabbab) and that some people hold this view based on this hadeeth.
From all of these facts about the Throne, Ibn Taymiyyah explains that the Throne therefore, is not like the celestial orbits, and that the uluww and irtifaa' (elevation) of the Throne is something that cannot be known through astronomy.
He explains the difference between "falak" and "qubbah", that "falak" is something that is completely circular or spherical, all the way round, and as for the word "qubbah" only indicates sphericality from above.
TWO: That irrespective of the differences amongst the people regarding the Throne, the Sharee'ah texts establish that the the universe is extremely small in relation to Allaah.
Ibn Taymiyyah explains that irrespective of whether it is said for argument's sake:
- That the Throne is the ninth celestial orbit (according to some of those Mutakallimoon who took this from the Philosophers) or,
- That the Throne is a jism (body) that encompasses the ninth celestial orbit, or
- That it is above the ninth celestial orbit from the direction of the face of the earth, without encompassing it, or
- Anything besides what has been said above.
Irrespective of what is said, that it should be known that the universe, from its highest to its lowest, is extremely small in relation to the Creator, and he mentions the verse:
They made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him! (Az-Zumar 39:67)
And then Ibn Taymiyyah mentions a sample of ahaadeeth in this regard and from them what is reported by Abu Hurairah in the two Saheehs that:
On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will grasp the whole Earth by His Hand, and all the Heavens in His right, and then He will say, "I am the King, where are the kings of the earth?".
And he brings six more narrations from the two Saheehs in this regard, which are similar to or variations of the above hadeeth, and then he brings some aathaar from Ibn Abbaas (radiallaahu anhu) and which are also reported by at-Tabari in his tafseer, that
The seven heavens and the seven earths and whatever is within them and between them are not in the Hand of ar-Rahman except like a mustard seed in the hand of one of you.
And he says that these aathaar are well known and found in the books of hadeeth.
After bringing this sample of ahaadeeth and aathaar - about whose authenticity there is agreement - he says that all of them show that the seven heavens and the earth and whatever is between them, in relation to the greatness of Allaah, the Most High, are so small such that if He grasps them, it will not be unlike something small in the hand of one of us - and he says that to Allaah belongs the loftiest example (al-mathal ul-a'laa) .
And he explains that if Allaah wills He will grasp them (the heavens and earth) and do with them whatever is mentioned and if He wills He will not do that (it is all within His will and power) - and that in all of this there is the meaning of "Ihaatah" (encompassment) which is not hidden, and then he uses the explanation of Ibn Abbaas that the heavens and earth in Allaah's grasp are just like a mustard seed in the hand of one of us - and to Allaah belongs the loftiest example (al-mathal ul-a'laa) - to indicate the meaning of "Ihaatah" (encompassment) that is signified through this, and that alongside this, He is separate from the (the heavens and earth) and not in contact or inside of them.
And that irrespective of whether we presume the Throne to be a) encompassing the created things, like a ball encirculates whatever is within it or b) that the Throne is above the created things but does not encircle and surround it, just like the face of the land we are in in relation to its interior in the earth, or like a dome in relation to what is beneath it, then upon either of these two presumptions, for argument's sake, the Throne is above the creation and the Creator, the Sublime and Exalted, is above it, and the servant, in turning to and seeking Allaah, always seeks Him above and not below.
THREE: That there are only two real and true directions, above and below, and the other directions are all relative.
Ibn Taymiyyah continues to explain that it cannot be said that a person on one part of the earth is above or below a person on the other part of the earth. And this is because no one point on a celestial body can be said to below the other, and nor can it be said that its north pole is above its south pole - and that this notion of being "below" is simply an imaginary thing, it is only a "relative belowness" and not a true and real "belowness", just like when an ant is on a ceiling, then the ceiling is above it, even if the ants legs are on the ceiling (i.e. the ant is above the ceiling from its perspective).
Ibn Taymiyyah says that this is not a matter that is disputed amongst those who hold that the celestial bodies are spherical. And that all the Scholars of the Muslims are agreed that the celestial bodies are spherical. And on this basis anyone who claims that one of two people in different parts on a celestial body is below the other, then this is only a presumption and an imaginary thing and it is not the case in reality.
After this Ibn Taymiyyah says that Allaah, the Most High encompasses all of the creation with an "Ihaatah" that befits His Majesty, for the seven heavens and the earth in His Hand are smaller than a chick-pea in the hand of one of us, referring here to what was mentioned from Ibn Abbaas in explanation of the verse in Surah Zumar (39:67).
After this Ibn Taymiyyah addresses what was in the original question that if the Throne is circular, or spherical and Allaah is beyond it, separate and distinct from it, then what is the benefit of a person turning to Allaah above, as opposed to below - even though in our hearts we know that we instinctively seek Him above, and not to the right or left.
Ibn Taymiyyah says that this question only arises because of the presumption that half of the celestial orbit is below the earth, and below what is on the face of the earth of men and creatures, and this is a great error. He means here the presumption that that the celestial space around the southern hemisphere (for argument' sake) is considered to be "below" the earth, or the other way round, that the celestial space around the northern hemisphere is consider "below" the earth (for those in the south) - it makes no difference which way you look at it, none of the celestial space or orbit around the earth is considered "below" it - this notion is incorrect.
Ibn Taymiyyah explains that if the celestial orbit is considered to be "below" the earth, it would be below it from all directions, and this is turning the realities the other way around, since the celestial orbit is above the earth, absolutely, in every way. He explains that the astronomers say if a hole was made in the earth and something heavy was thrown, like a rock, then it would stop at the center, and if a rock was thrown from another side, it would also stop at the center.
And likewise if there was a man in the east and a man in the west (relative to the first), it cannot be said that one is below the other irrespective of whether one man is on his feet and other with his feet facing the sky, or vice versa - and in whatever position they might be in, they would never seek Allaah except through what is in reality, the direction of above, and not to the right or left or any other direction other than above.
Ibn Taymiyyah explains that to seek Allaah in supplication through any direction other than above is like a person saying that he wants to go to Hajj from Morocco, so he says he will go to Khurasaan (present day Iran) first and then to Makkah (in other words just doubling his journey), or it is like a person who says I want to go up in the atmosphere, and so he says I will descend into the earth and then ascend up to the atmosphere from the other direction, instead of ascending from where he is in the direction of above.
And that the one who seeks Allaah through supplication, he never says "I will seek Him below, or to the right or to the left", rather he seeks Him above, and that this is in perfect agreement of the hearts longing and turning to Allaah, it is a natural instinct, and that all of this is known through the fitrah.
Concerning The Hadeeth of Idlaa (Descending With A Rope)
Then Ibn Taymiyyah mentions the hadeeh of "Idlaa" collected by at-Tirmidhi and from Abu Hurairah, which is a da'eef hadeeth, and Ibn Taymiyyah mentions that it is munqati' (its chain is disconnected). Nevertheless, he discusses this hadeeth in light of what has preceded, because in this hadeeth there occurs, "that if one of you lowered a rope, he would descend and come upon Allaah", and so this has a connection to what has preceded of the discussion, and even though it is da'eef, Ibn Taymiyyah discusses it from the angle of an assumed hypothetical supposition, saying:
...this is an assumed supposition (taqdeer mafrood), meaning that if this lowering occurred, then (descending upon Allaah) would have occurred, however it is not possible for anyone to descend in this manner to Allaah in anything because He is elevated with His Essence, and if anything was lowered in the direction of the earth, it would reach the center,and it would not ascend in the other direction. However, with the supposition that this lowering is assumed, then what has been mentioned (in the hadeeth) of the outcome would take place.
So this (what is mentioned in this hadeeth) is what the questioner has mentioned in his question (which is that) when the servant seeks Allaah in that direction (i.e. below) then He, the Sublime, is (still) hearing his speech and he (the person) is (still) turning to Allaah with his heart - but this is something that the fitrah (natural instinct) prohibits, because seeking something with full, complete [intent] negates the seeking of its opposite, just like the direction of above negates the direction of below ...
Then a little later he explains the intent behind the hypothetical supposition in the hadeeth:
For he (the Prophet) said, "If one of you lowers (with a rope) he would descend...", meaning if it was assumed that there is a lowering, then it is also assumed that there is a descending, and this would be considered a lowering and a descending if it was assumed that the heavens are beneath the earth, and this assumption is negated.
However, its benefit is to explain the encompassment (Ihaatah) and elevation (uluww) from every side, and this assumption (of lowering) is impossible for us, we are not able to do it and it is not conceivable that one lower (a rope) and it is not conceivable that one descend upon Allaah in anything.
Then Ibn Taymiyyah mentions that if, on the hypothetical supposition, there was a hole from the north pole to the south pole or from the east to the west and a rope was passed through it so that it goes through the center (of the earth), that would make no difference as it relates to Allaah. And then he says, after mentioning this supposition:
Then in all considerations of a rope going through (the earth) from one encompassed side to another (encompassed) side, alongside it going through the center, and upon the consideration that His grasp encompasses the heavenes and the earth then the rope about which it is supposed that it goes through the universe [no matter how or in what direction it goes through the earth, through the poles, through east to west, or west to east] then none of that is to be called "lowering" and "descending" in relation to Allaah.
And as it relates to us, then what is below our feet, is (considered) below to us, and what is above our heads is (considered) above to us, and what we lower from the direction of our heads down to the direction of our feet is conceived of by us as "descending". So when it as assumed (in accordance with the da'eef hadeeth) that one of us lowers (himself) with a rope, then he would be descending upon what is there, but this (hypothetical) assumption is impossible for us.
And the intent here is to explain the encompassment (Ihaatah) of the Creator, the Sublime and Exalted, as has become clear that (it means) He grasps the heavens and rolls out the earth and what is similar to that within which there lies the explanation of His encompassment of the creation, and this is why he (the Messenger) recited at the end of the (aforementioned) hadeeth:
He is the First (nothing is before Him) and the Last (nothing is after Him), the Most High (nothing is above Him) and the Most Near (nothing is nearer than Him). And He is the All-Knower of every thing. (Al-Hadid 57:3)
And all of this is upon the assumption of its authenticity, for at-Tirmidhee when he reported it he said, "And some of the people of hadeeth have explained it in that he will descend upon the knowledge of Allaah", and some of the Hulooliyyah and Ittihaadiyyah (those believing Allaah is the creation or merged within it) think that there is in this hadeeth what amounts to evidence for their false saying, which is that He is, with His Essence, merged in every place, and that His existence is the actual existence of all places and so on.
Then Ibn Taymiyyah, after mentioning what the hadeeth does not prove, assuming it is authentic, and clarifying that the explanation of this hadeeth to mean "to descend upon the knowledge of Allaah" is incorrect, he says:
... and likewise, making ta'weel of it with "knowledge" is a ta'weel whose corruption is manifest, and it is from the types of ta'weels of the Jahmiyyah. Rather, on the assumption that it (the hadeeth) is affirmed, then it indicates "Ihaatah" (encompassment). And it is known that Allaah has power over such an encompassment (Ihaatah), and it is known that it will take place on the Day of Judgement by the Book and the Sunnah and there is nothing in affirming it, in sum, what opposes reason or legislation. However, we do not speak except with what we know, and what we do not know, we withhold from it...
Then a little later he mentions a narration from Imaam Ahmad about Muhammad bin Seereen that the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) used to raise his sight to the sky until the verse was revealed, "The Believers will prosper. Those who are humble and submissive in their prayer (Surah Mu'minoon 23:1-2)", and thereafter his sight did not go beyond his place of prostration.
Ibn Taymiyyah says there is nothing in the prohibition of the servant from raising his sight in the prayer that refutes those who say that Allaah is above the Throne as has been presumed by the ignoramuses amongst the Jahmiyyah, because to the Jahmiyyah there is no difference between the Throne, and the pit, and the sea, all of them are the same, and if this is the case, then He would not have prohibited them from raising the sight to one direction and command them to keep it in another, because to the Jahmiyyah its all the same (since they believe Allaah is in everything and in every place).
Then later he says, in winding down the discussion of this issue:
And the intent is that whatever has come from the Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) on this subject and other than it, then all of it is the truth, and part of it establishes the truth of the other part, and it is (all) in agreement with the innate instinct of the creation, and with what they have been granted of clear intellects (al-aql as-sareeh) and sound objectives (al-qasd as-saheeh) - it does not oppose the clear intellect and nor the sound objective and nor the upright fitrah and nor the sound transmission that is established from the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam).
But only he thinks that there is opposition between them (i.e. between the clear intellect, sound objective, the upright fitrah and the revealed text) who believes the false narrations, or who understands from them that which is not in them, or who believes something he thinks is from the rational things, when in reality it is from foolish things.
Then Ibn Taymiyyah says that all the preceding discussion is based upon our acceptance of one of two assumptions, which is that the Throne is spherical (all round) or that it is not spherical (all round), and upon either of these two assumptions, we still do not turn to Allaah except in the direction of above and not in any other directions.
And he says (p.582):
It has become clear, in all assumptions (of what the case might be), that turning to Allaah is not permissible except (in the direction of) above, alongside His being above His Throne, separate and distinct from His creation, and regardless of whether it is assumed that He encompasses the creation - in the manner that He encompasses them when they are in His grasp - or if it is assumed that He is above them and encompasses them without Him grasping them, then in either of these two assumptions, He is above them, separate and distinct from them.
And it has become clear upon this assumption with respect to the Creator and this assumption with respect to the Throne that there is no (reason) for any caution (in this) or (the presence of any) contradiction, and this puts and end to all the doubt, and the doubt only emanates out of two corrupt beliefs:
The first of them: That it be thought that the Throne, if it is spherical, and that Allaah is above it, it is binding that Allaah is spherical, and then [the second] (that he) believes that if He is spherical, then it is correct to turn to whatever is spherical - such as the ninth celestial orbit - from all the (various) directions.
And both of these two beliefs are incorrect and misguidance, for Allaah, alongside Him being above the Throne, and alongside the (assumption of the) saying that the Throne is spherical - regardless of whether it is (assumed to be) the ninth celestial sphere or other than it - it is not permissible for it to be thought that He resembles the celestial bodies in their shapes, just like it is not permissible that it be though that He resembles them in their sizes and their attributes - Sublime and Exalted is Allaah from what the oppressors say with a great exaltation. Rather, it has become clear that He is mightier and greater than that the creation should be to Him like the interior of a celestial body within a celestial body. Rather, the creation to Him, is smaller than a peppercorn or a chick-pea and what is similar to that in the hand of one of us.
And this is based upon what has been said by Ibn Abbaas, as mentioned earlier, that "The seven heavens and the seven earths and whatever is within them and between them are not in the Hand of ar-Rahman except like a mustard seed in the hand of one of you".
Then he continues:
When a chick-pea or a peppercorn, rather a dirham or a dinar, or a ball that a child plays with and what is similar to that, is in the hand of a person, or is beneath him, or whatever is similar to that, does any intelligent person, when he perceives the elevation of the person over it and his encompassment of it, that the person is like a celestial (spherical) body? And Allaah - and to Allaah is the loftiest example - is greater than that should be thought about Him, but only those think that who:
...have made not a just estimate of Allah such as is due to Him. And on the Day of Resurrection the whole of the earth will be grasped by His Hand and the heavens will be rolled up in His Right Hand. Glorified is He, and High is He above all that they associate as partners with Him! (Az-Zumar 39:67)
In closing the treatise, Ibn Taymiyyah says that in light of what has been discussed that the two presumptions made in the question at the very beginning, that a) the Throne is completely spherical just like the celestial bodies and orbits, and therefore, b) there is no difference in turning to Allaah in whatever direction (below, left right etc.), that they are both invalid.
Points of Benefit From the Above
To follow inshaa'Allaah.